Squad continues good form in wins
The women’s soccer team extended its winning streak to six games with a pair of home wins last week, edging past Lesley University 1-0 on Saturday afternoon and dispatching Gordon College 4-0 last Tuesday. The Judges improved their record to 6-1 overall and are averaging nearly three goals per game and giving up just 0.3 goals during the streak.
“Last week was an important opportunity to showcase that our team will not let prior losses [affect] our playing mentality,” said goalkeeper Michelle Savuto ’15. “Having lost last year to both Gordon and UMass Boston, we were excited at the chance to prove ourselves.”
Midfielder Sapir Edalati ’15 netted the Judges’ only goal on Saturday in the 79th minute, her second game-winning goal in as many games.
The Judges dominated possession for most of the game through a strong defense, including a 10-1 shot advantage, but were unable to put a shot past the Lynx defense.
“Defense is always a major focus for our team, regardless of which position you play,” said defensemen Julia McDermott ’17. “Not only has our back line been great, but our midfield and forwards have been organized and getting back to defend really well. We can't be successful as a defense unless each player does her part.”
The Judges finally put themselves in front on their eighth corner of the game when Edalati converted a set piece in the 79th minute. Edalati received a pass off a corner kick from forward Holly Szafran ’16 and blasted the pass past the Lesley goalkeeper into the top-left corner to give the Judges a 1-0 lead.
Though the Judges’ defense conceded two shots over the remaining 10 minutes, only one was on target and was easily saved by Savuto.
“The focus of our defense has always been unity. The defense communicates constantly on every play, and they all support each other,” said Savuto. “A huge part of our success has also been the fact that [defensemen] Haley Schachter [’16] has really stepped into her leadership role as both an upperclassman mentor and center back.”
Brandeis recorded 19 shots against Lesley the sixth straight game the team has recorded at least 10 shots.
“I think that the team culture right now strongly supports the idea that we will never lose faith in our ability to win games through our sheer grit and mental toughness,” Savuto said. “We constructively critique ourselves after every game regardless of the result. I also firmly believe that one of the reasons for our success in our 2012 season was our status as the "underdog," and I think we've reclaimed that title this year. No opponent we face is beneath us, and we all know that every single game will be a battle.”
Edalati is now tied for the team leader with five goals on the year after scoring twice against Gordon earlier in the week.
Brandeis opened the scoring against Gordon in the 41st minute with a hard-earned goal scored by Edalati. Edalati took a corner kick and put a header on net, but her shot was cleared off the line by the Gordon defense. The rebound came right back to the striker and, Edalati put home her own rebound for the 1-0 lead.
The squad did not have to wait long after the halftime break to double their lead, dominating possession over the first five minutes of the second half. Forward Samantha Schwartz ’18 netted her sixth goal of the season in the 50th minute, using her speed to turn around a Gordon defender and tuck the ball inside the left post to give the Judges a 2-0 lead.
The Judges scored twice more over the final half hour to secure the 4-0 lead but gave up five shots to Gordon after holding the opposition without a shot during the first half. Forward Lea McDaniel ’17 netted her first goal of the season in the 68th minute, cleaning up a rebound from a header by forward Haliana Burhans ’18.
Facing pressure from the Gordon offense, the Judges put the game away with a goal of their own in the 85th minute. Szafran played the ball forward to Edalati in the midfield, and the striker took one touch to get around the Gordon defense before netting her second goal of the game to give the Judges the 4-0 final.
The assist was Szafran’s second of the game, having previously assisted Schwartz’s goal, and the forward is now tied for the team lead with four assists this year.
The squad is not getting ahead of themselves with the recent successes.
“It's awesome whenever we win a game, but we want to try to improve how we play each game and never become complacent or satisfied with where we are,” McDermott said. “Our intensity in games and in practice has been amazing and that, along with our desire, to win makes it very hard for other teams to compete with us.”
The Judges return to action today at Wellesley College at 4 p.m. before welcoming Bowdoin College to Gordon Field on Saturday at 1 p.m.